Yurok Becomes First Tribe to Co-Manage Land With National Park Service

The historic memorandum signed on March 19, 2024, marks a significant milestone as the Yurok Tribe becomes the first tribe to co-manage land with the National Park Service in northern California. This momentous agreement, which transfers a vital 125-acre parcel known as ‘O Rew back to the Yurok Tribe, represents a step towards rectifying historical injustices and recognizing Indigenous land management practices. For centuries, the towering Redwood trees have been integral to the culture and sustenance of the Yurok people, yet much of their ancestral lands were taken through exploitation for gold and lumber. With the signing of this agreement, the Yurok Tribe, in partnership with the Save the Redwoods League, the National Park Service, and California State Parks, is poised to establish a new conservation model that honors the value of Tribal land stewardship.

As the official owners of ‘O Rew, the Yurok Tribe is committed to preserving this land as a gateway to the majestic Redwood parks while restoring its ecological integrity. Through initiatives such as reseeding native plants and restoring Prairie Creek, which serves as a vital salmon habitat, the Tribe aims to revitalize the natural landscape and support biodiversity. Additionally, plans for educational and cultural sites, including visitor and cultural centers, will provide opportunities for visitors to learn about the rich heritage and traditions of the Yurok people. This historic agreement not only paves the way for Indigenous lands to be integrated into the management of national parks but also underscores the importance of collaboration and reconciliation in safeguarding natural and cultural heritage for generations to come.

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